In Our Time Archive: Science

In Our Time Archive: Science

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from ancient astronomy to particle physics.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Origins of Infectious Disease

    Wed, 8 Jun 11

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins of infectious disease. History is littered with deadly outbreaks of infection, some of which have come close to wiping out entire populations. Mass movement is a significant development in the spread of disease, as is modern agriculture and our proximity to animals. The last century has seen welcome breakthroughs in controlling and even eradicating some diseases – but could the end of infection be a realistic possibility? Melvyn is joined by Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London; Sir Roy Anderson, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London; and Mark Pallen, Professor of Microbial Genomics at the University of Birmingham.

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  • The Neutrino

    Thu, 14 Apr 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the neutrino. With Frank Close, Susan Cartwright and David Wark.

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  • The Age of the Universe

    Thu, 3 Mar 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvin Bragg dicusses the Age of the Universe, with Martin Rees, Carolin Crawford and Carlos Frenk.

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  • The Nervous System

    Thu, 10 Feb 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Nervous System, the body’s communication network. The discovery of the nervous system is a fascinating story which begins in ancient Greece and is still going on today. Melvyn is joined by Colin Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford; Vivian Nutton, Emeritus Professor of the History of Medicine at University College, London; and Tilli Tansey, Professor of the History of Modern Medical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London.

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  • Random and Pseudorandom

    Thu, 13 Jan 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss random and pseudorandom numbers. Randomness will be familiar to anybody who’s bought a lottery ticket or shuffled a pack of cards. But there’s also a phenomenon known as pseudo-randomness –numbers which look random but aren’t. So why are these numbers useful and how can they be generated? Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Colva Roney-Dougal, Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews; and Timothy Gowers, Royal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

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  • Thomas Edison

    Thu, 9 Dec 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the life of the great American inventor, Thomas Edison. Creator of the phonograph and the mass-produced electric lightbulb, not to mention his pivotal role in the development of motion pictures, Edison was a true technological pioneer. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Kathleen Burk, Professor of History at University College, London; Simon Schaffer, Professor of the History of Science and Fellow of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge; and Iwan Morus, Reader in History at the University of Aberystwyth.

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  • Women and Enlightenment Science

    Thu, 4 Nov 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    In this week's In Our Time Melvyn Bragg considers the involvement of women in science during the Enlightenment period and how, despite the obstacles, women made significant contributions in a wide range of scientific discliplines. Melvyn is joined by Patricia Fara, Senior Tutor at Clare College, University of Cambridge; Judith Hawley, Professor of 18th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London; and Karen O’Brien, Professor of English at the University of Warwick.

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  • Logic

    Thu, 21 Oct 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg tackles the philosophy of logic - first mapped out by Aristotle in the 4th century BC; disregarded by Descartes in the 17th century and revived and reworked by Gottlob Frege in the 19th century; logic is at the heart of computer science and is a mathematical as well as a philosophical disclipline. Melvyn is joined by A.C. Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London; Peter Millican, Gilbert Ryle Fellow in Philosophy at Hertford College at the University of Oxford; and Rosanna Keefe, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.

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  • Imaginary Numbers

    Thu, 23 Sep 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg grapples with the concept of imaginary numbers. Perplexing digits that underpin the majority of technology we take for granted today, from radios to computers to MRI scans; not to mention quantum mechanics. Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University; Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick; and Caroline Series, Professor of Mathematics, also at the University of Warwick.

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  • Pliny’s Natural History

    Thu, 8 Jul 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Pliny's Natural History, an enormous reference work which attempted to bring together knowledge on every subject under the sun. With Serafina Cuomo, Aude Doody and Liba Taub.

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